Recently, NerdLeaks struck again, this time seemingly outing a PlayStation 4 exclusive Spider-Man video game. I’d love to go into how plausible it is to believe that a Spider-Man game can only come out on one console, but instead let’s break away from political console war jargon and focus on what should get you ready for a web-slinging adventure in this current console generation. The following list are stories featuring your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, 4 comic books and two films, that provide a pretty good idea of how good (or bad) this next Spider-Man game can be.
6) Kraven’s Last Hunt
Delving into territory not often examined in Marvel comics, Kraven’s Last Hunt centers around the villainous hunter Kraven, in his waning prime, preparing for one last hunt of Spider-Man, whom he considers to be his most eluded trophy. What follows is a harrowing, suspenseful tale of cat and mouse that doesn’t exactly end how you would think. Themes such as incompetence, masculinity, and fatherhood are all dissected here, and it’s a satisfying tale that, at its end, establishes Kraven as one of Spidey’s best villains.
The story is very different from what a proposed Spider-Man game may be like in the current landscape of gaming, trading in the campiness with darker, more mature overtones. However, this is one of Kraven’s best stories, and the character himself is almost guaranteed to make an appearance in any rumored Spider-Man game, due to how simple and easy he would be to incorporate into any video game. He can actually be seen in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, further reinforcing his history as one of Spidey’s more relevant villains. I recommend studying up on this fine specimen of an antagonist, to learn what really makes him stand out from the rest of the wall crawler’s rogue gallery.
5) Spider-Man: Blue
Ah, Spider-Man: Blue, one of the saddest, most mature Spider-Man stories ever told. Set during a Valentine’s Day long after the death of Gwen Stacy, Peter Parker suddenly recalls himself deeply missing his former girlfriend, thus explaining why he is “blue.” The story, which Parker himself tells via speaking into a voice recorder, recounts how he and Gwen Stacy fell in love, and how his life as Spider-Man got in the way and almost prevented him getting together with Stacy. The web-head also explains how Mary Jane helped Peter recover and teach him how to love again.
Blue is an immensely important Spider-Man story in the same way Batman: A Long Halloween is. Both stories show when their respective characters are at their best: the Caped Crusader in a noir, detective setting and Peter Parker scraping together and dealing with the remains of his life Spider-Man ruined. It also showcases the depth of Spider-Man, as we realize he can be mourning and missing a huge part of his life, only to be brave enough to let someone in and help him recover. Parker’s a smart dude, both in the book smart sense and when dealing with his own emotions, as he knows it’s not healthy to bottle everything up to a boiling point.
4) Spider-Man and the Sinister Six
Mysterio. Doctor Octopus. Electro. Kraven. Vulture. Sandman The Amazing Spider-Man volume 1 #40-48 and #60 place front and center a perfectly organized effort by the Sinister Six to attack Spider-Man while he is at his weakest, unleashing a barrage of chaos and pain onto the wall crawler. The crew then corners Spider-Man into a corner, leaving our hero buried under mounds of rubble and drowning, in a cliffhanger that left Spider-Man fans clamoring for the next page.
This entry is for those who may be looking for how a Spider-Man game can be designed or created. The focus on six distinct bosses could allow for different enemy types, as well as the possibility for six memorable boss battles. As the Sinister Six continue to wreak havoc on our favorite wall crawler, we could also have the chance to play as Peter Parker, trying to lead a normal life amidst his crazy admirers.
3) Spider-Man 2
For many, Spider-Man 2 is one of the best superhero films ever created. The film is tightly written, with characters who have purpose and a focus on only four main characters, as well as containing exciting action sequences. I love Spider-Man 2, as it explores what happens when Spider-Man can’t be Spider-Man anymore, while also reminding us that Peter Parker never turns into anyone else when he is behind the mask.
While the storyline can’t be properly adapted for a fully-fledged 25 hours open world Spider-Man game, it does give us one great villain who could be in the game: Doctor Otto Octavius. He’s sympathetic to some extent, driven crazy by the artificial intelligence seared into his si mechanical arms, but there also seems to be a bit of humanity in him, leaving his actions to be inexcusable as we recognize there’s someone actually in control at times.
2) Spider-Man 3
Don’t watch this film for the sheer quality of it, but rather remind yourself how badly Sony can bundle a good thing. Imagine the momentum. Spider-Man 2 nearly makes a billion dollars at the global box office during a time when most films don’t even get close to that amount. The film is critically acclaimed as well, and you don’t have any competition in sight. Spider-Man 3 comes along, and instead of Harry Osborn slowly coming to grips with his own plan for revenge and attempting to murder Spider-Man himself, we…get….this:
It’s a mess of a film, filled with too many villains and a weird plot that reeks of studio interference. Stories have since come out that Sony forced certain aspects into the film. While I don’t think of the film as one of the worst superhero films ever, it’s still a mess. Just remember this lesson: too much of a good thing can turn into too much of a bad thing.
1) Ultimate Spider-Man
It’s getting to the point in all this superhero madness that we really should give Brian Michael Bendis a big ole’ standing ovation as often as people do Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. The writer behind Powers also wrote two series that are integral to the MCU today: Alias and Ultimate Spider-Man. Ultimate Spider-Man was the cornerstone of the Ultimate Marvel Comics Universe relaunch, a somewhat successful attempt to introduce younger readers to reimagined versions of some of Marvel’s most famous heroes, albeit in an attempt to fit into the new millennium. Ultimate Spider-Man may be the best series and book ever written about the wall crawler.
Everything’s connected, just like a spider’s web. Some examples are, but not including the following. The Hobgoblin is Harry Osborn, bursting out uncontrollably into his goblin, monstrous form, after being treated on by his father. Eddie Brock is a lifelong friend of Peter Parker who finds the venom symbiote that his father and Mr. Parker worked on as a cure for cancer. Top off a Peter Parker who has to grapple with being a teenager in a time of social media and the internet revolution, and you’ve got a fresh, reimagining take on the world of Spider-Man that remembers its roots all at the same time.
With such a focused, new Spider-Man story, face it tiger, you’ve just hit the jackpot.
Liam Crossey is the Executive Editor of Features for The Game Bolt. Follow him on Twitter for too many retweets.